Luke 9:23-26 "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels."
My husband & I have been reading through some writings of Origen. It was interesting to me to come across a bit of his history as I was reading in the Martyrs' Mirror. I also read again about Perpetua & Felicitas. Felicitas response to the jailer stood out to me here so I wanted to share it also. As I read these accounts it stands out to me that these believers in Christ had a faith that worked, a faith that lived, a faith that loved. What I mean by this is that their faith was not only in their heart but manifested in their choices, in their daily life, it was made public for the love that they had for their Lord, who was truly LORD of their desires. They were not restrained by the natural affections of human nature as so many are today. God was apparently their first love as He should be to every one who is named after Him. Many today say they are Christian & moral people but they look, act, & think like the world around them with one exception-they claim to be saved by the blood of Christ. These Martyrs are an example to the modern day "Christian". They show that to claim Christ as your Lord, is to make Him LORD over your entire existence. When we claim Christ we are to take on the mind of Christ: we are to die to the cares, affections & pleasures of this life. That is not to say we can never show affection, never care for things here, or have pleasure here--but rather, we graciously let go of these things rather than have them come between us & our faithfulness to the One who died to give us the true life which is eternal. These Holy Women of Old did not allow their love for father, mother, husband, or children to cause them to waiver when faced with the penalty of temporal earthly torments as a result of their faith in Christ ( Y'shua ha Mashiyach). They did not waiver because they sincerely believed that this life on earth is temporal & that there is an eternal life to come. A life of eternal peace to all who lived faithful to the teachings of Christ; and a life of eternal torment to those who refused to give Him all. To the fearful & unbelieving...-Revelations 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
What does it mean to be fearful & unbelieving? We must examine ourselves (1Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? )
daily --(Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.)
We must not let the things of this life become so precious to us that we fear to meet the life hereafter--we must labor now to enter into eternity with confidence. We must labor daily to weed the garden of our heart, diligently keeping out the weeds called "Burdened with Earthly Cares". Lord God who should sit as King of every desire of our heart, have mercy on us, & make us as the Holy Women of Old--fearless of the after life, confidently believing the Promises of Christ, faithfully keeping His commandments, living our lives for Him alone, our first love, not seeking our own but His. That means denying our-self, taking on the divine nature, & forsaking those desires that hinder the kingdom of God on earth. That hinder the Kingdom of God in our homes--the negative responses to our husbands, children, brethren, family members, the lack of meekness & humility in our everyday responses to situations & people must be crucified that we may rise on our last day to be with the Savior of the World.
We must take time to stop & consider: what have I been thinking--are my thoughts profitable to the Kingdom of God?
Has my speech been seasoned--or has it been rash, harsh, irritable?
Am I spending my time to God's glory?
Am I being a good & sincere example to children, to unbelievers ?
Am I loving my husband as I would Christ?
Am I loving my neighbor as myself?
Am I worshiping God in sincerity & truth; am I truly rejoicing in the Hope of Salvation?
There are many questions like these we should keep in mind so that we can walk worthy & be found of God in peace.
The following are testimonies of those whose sincere faith triumphed over the Cares of this life, & fears of the after-life:
PERPETUA AND FELICITAS, OF TUBURBI IN MAURITANIA, AND OTHERS, VIOLENTLY PUT TO DEATH, FOR THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD, ABOUT THE YEAR 201 ,Perpetua and Felicitas were two very pious and honorable Christian women, at Tuburbi, a city in Mauritania, a province of Africa. Both were very untimely apprehended, to suffer for the name of Christ, as Felicitas was very far advanced in pregnancy, and Perpetua had recently given birth to a child, which she was nursing. But this did not make them fainthearted, nor so surprise them that they forsook Christ, nor did it prevent them from going on in the way of godliness; but they remained equally faithful disciples of Christ, and became steadfast martyrs.
According to the Roman laws, they waited with the pregnant woman, until she was delivered, before they sentenced her and put her to death. When the pains of labor seized her in prison, and she cried aloud for fear and anguish, the jailer said to her, "Thou art so much afraid and distressed now, and criest aloud for pain; how then wilt thou behave, when, tomorrow, or the day after, thou wilt be led to death?" Felicitas replied thus, "Now I suffer as a poor woman the punishment which God on account of sin has laid upon the female sex; but tomorrow I shall suffer as a Christian woman for the faith and the confession of Jesus Christ." ,By these words she sufficiently indicated that she had firmly and immovably founded her faith upon Christ, who never forsakes His own, even though they be in the midst of the fire, and are consumed, God also specially strengthened her, that she might be able to endure her sufferings. With reference to this, Tertullian says, "Perpetua, the very strong and steadfast martyr, had a revelation or vision of the heavenly paradise, on the day of her sufferings, in the which she saw none but her fellow martyrs. And why no others? Because the fiery sword which guards the door of paradise gives way to none but those who die for Christ." In the meantime these two pious heroines of Jesus Christ were martyred, that is, they died a violent death, for the name of their Saviour; for which they will afterwards be crowned with the unfading wreath of immortality, as a triumpth over the foes they overcame, namely, the cruelties and pains of death.
The names of their fellow martyrs are Revocatus, Satyrus, Saturninus, and Serundulus. It is supposed that the last-mentioned one of these died in prison from extreme hardship, but that the others were all thrown before the wild beasts, such as, bulls, lions, bears, leopards, etc., to be torn by them. Thus these exchanged their dear lives for death, for Christ's sake. Idem., fol. 26, col. 3, 4, ex August. in Psal. 74, and de Tempore Barbdrieo, cap. 5, Beda Usuard. Ado Martirol. Rom. 7. Martii. Also, 1. Pregnatis de Pen. Also, in Antiquo Lectionario. Also, Tertull. de anima, cap. 5. That the dead bodies of the two afore-mentioned women were brought to Carthage, and were buried there is testified to by Victor Uticensis, Pers. Vandal., lib. 1.